State of Burma

State of Burma

Infobox Former Country
native_name =
conventional_long_name = State of Burma
common_name = Burma
continent = moved from Category:Asia to East Asia
region = Southeast Asia
country = Myanmar
status = Client state
empire = Japan
status_text = Client state of Japan
year_start = 1942
year_end = 1945
date_start = August 1
date_end = March 27
p1 = British rule in Burma
flag_p1 = Burma1937.pngs1 = British rule in Burma
flag_s1 = Burma1937.png

image_map_caption =
capital = Rangoon
common_languages = Japanese (official), Burmese
government_type =
title_leader =
leader1 = Ba Maw
era = World War II
stat_area1 =

When the Japanese invaded Burma in 1942 they released Ba Maw from prison and convinced him to head a puppet government, the "Burmese Executive Administration" being set up in Rangoon on August 1, 1942. Earlier in July, Aung San had re-organised the Burma Independence Army BIA as the Burma Defence Army (BDA). He remained its commander in chief - this time as Colonel Aung San.

Exactly one year later, on August 1, 1943 a Japanese-drafted Burmese Declaration of Independence was issued. Ba Maw was made head-of-state of Burma in a Japanese-backed government that declared war upon Great Britain and the United States, and concluded a Treaty of Alliance with Japan. Aung San became Minister of Defence in the new regime, and also Commander-in-Chief of the renamed Burma National Army, with the rank of Major General.

Although Burma was nominally self-governing, it remained under Japanese military occupation. The Ba Maw regime is most bitterly remembered for its use of forced Burmese labour to help the Japanese (the so-called Sweat Army). The resulting hardships and Japanese militaristic attitudes turned the majority Burman population against the Japanese. The insensitive attitude of the Japanese Army extended to the BNA. Even its officers were obliged to salute Japanese private soldiers as their superiors.

During 1943 and 1944, the BNA made contacts with other political groups inside Burma such as the communists who had taken to the hills in 1942. Eventually, a popular front organization called the Anti-Fascist Organisation (AFO) was formed with Thakin Soe as leader. Through the communists and a Japanese-sponsored force known as the Arakan Defence Army, the Burmese were eventually able to make contact with the British Force 136 in India. The initial contacts were always indirect. Force 136 was also able to make contacts with members of the BNA's Karen unit in Rangoon.

In December 1944, the AFO contacted the Allies indicating their readiness to launch a national uprising which would include the BNA. The situation was not immediately considered favourable for a revolt by the BNA by the British and there were internal disputes about supporting the BNA among the British. The first BNA uprising occurred early in 1945 in central Burma. In late March 1945, the remainder of the BNA paraded in Rangoon and marched out ostensibly to take part in the battles then raging in Central Burma. Instead, on March 27 they openly declared war on the Japanese. The Burma government fell in early 1945, and Ba Maw fled via Thailand to Japan, where he was captured later that year and was held in Sugamo prison, in Tokyo until 1946.

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